This summer I took a trip to Paris and was delighted to see a "Pantone" exhibit at the Pompidou Museum. Within the museum was a snug passageway that opened up to an amazing chamber overflowing with wildly shaped furniture and cases filled with vibrant 3-dimensional displays. The walls were lined with brilliantly colored canvases that invoked in me a childlike sense of happiness. I just wanted to jump on the furniture -- but, instead, I decided to take in the art.
In the back section of the exhibit hung a series of resist paintings. One in particular caught my eye. The entire canvas was black with the exception of a few perfectly placed circles that popped in rainbow colored swirls. As I looked closer, the base of the canvas was covered with red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple. Atop was a thick layer of black paint, with only the circles showing the underneath colors. The contrast of the stark black to the vivid colors made me recount the first time I did resist art in Mrs. Wortman’s 5th grade class.
She never had much money to buy supplies, but she always found clever ways to inspire us. She cut up her old manila file folders into squares and had us fully cover the square – first with bright colored crayons and then with a layer of black. Her recommendation was to color as hard as we could so that the colors underneath would pop. I remember coloring so hard and outrageously that the crayons would get hot to the touch.
Using a pair of blunt-tip scissors, we would scrape off the black, making a design. I remember being mesmerized by the contrast of the black to the vibrancy of the colors beneath; I scraped nearly every inch of that square just to see the “reveal” time and time again. Once our class was finished with the squares, Mrs. Wortman arranged and hung them together like a quilt.
Today, it’s much easier to create resist art. As an Arts & Crafts buyer for Discount School Supply®, I was delighted to be able to construct the Colorations® Scratch Design Boards (SDBOARD). These sheets of multi-colored cardstock are pretreated with a non-toxic, easy-to-scratch-off paint. Similar to scratching off a lottery ticket, the black paint can be removed with a wooden stylus (SDJPEN), craft stick (CRAF) or a finger nail. Inspired by Mrs. Wortman, I designed them in 5” x 5” squares, which is enough space for a child to draw in, but small enough for a teacher to be able to arrange in “quilt” style. For safety reasons, I thought it best to avoid using scissors for scratching off the surface and designed a small wooden stylus in the same dimensions as a child’s primary-sized pencil. The stylus is easy for young children to manipulate.
I hope that children today enjoy the stimulating contrast of resist art as much as I did, and maybe someday they’ll be able to recount their own childhood experiences of drawing on scratch art paper.
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